The Bombay High Court, observing that bhajans and satsangs should not turn into rock concerts, has declined to interfere with an order setting conditions on barricading of an area on Juhu Beach during Chhath Puja celebrations and allowing celebrities to participate in such functions.
The court Monday was hearing a petition filed by former Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam’s organisation Bihari Front to cancel two conditions imposed by the November 5 order of collector (suburbs) while granting permission to perform Chhath Puja on November 17-18.
It had earlier allowed the festival, celebrated by people of Bihar, by erecting a temporary stage but said the space should not be enclosed and if the stage was erected, no celebrity should be allowed.
Referring to a letter from the collector to the organisers in this regard on November 10, the court said, “These conditions are being imposed to avoid any incidents like stampede. It clarifies that bhajans, kirtans can be performed at any function but in the garb of such functions, no popular artiste should be invited to such functions,” said Justice Dharmadhikari.
Advocates representing the Bihari Front argued that celebrity is a vague concept and not clearly defined. They informed the court that the organisation has only invited former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar. But a bench of Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice B P Colabawalla said the collector’s order required no clarification “as there is a comparison between this dignitary (Kumar) and performance artistes or popular figures falling within the ambit of celebrity”.